[Lizzie] MERCIER-DESCLOUS. Desiderata.
(Paris): Michel Esteban Editeur, 1978. First edition. A4 booklet. 59 pages. Preface by Patti Smith. The first and only book by French singer, and lover of Richard Hell, Lizzie Mercier-Descloux. (The volume here states both Desclous (cover) and Descloud (credits). The book is a mix of photo’s, poetry and collage in which Descloux began pursuing her delight in the rhythmic, nonsensical potential of sound. The volume includes photographic images, Patti Smith by Deborah Turbeville, Richard Hell (who assisted with the volume) by Descloux. Largely forgotten, Descloux was every bit the romantic French archetype, as well as an innovator and witness to numerous pivotal moments in musical and cultural history, She saw Patti Smith and Television at CBGBs and Basquiat at the Kitchen. She recorded at Compass Point Studios in Nassau while Grace Jones made Nightclubbing next door. She collaborated with Soweto musicians in apartheid-era South Africa years before Graceland. She persuaded Chet Baker to play trumpet on her penultimate album, which turned out to be one of his final recordings. In his 2013 autobiography, I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp, Descloux’s former lover Richard Hell invokes her memory with grim fetishization: “She was an intellectual sex-kitten chanteuse adventuress little girl.” Descloux made records for punk kids who loved to dance but her style was for all of us. This is a good copy in stapled wrappers, small surface scrape to cover, old red ink (?) stain to edge of front wrapper. Although Worldcat locates 3 copies, the book is far scarcer en commerce, it took us six years of weekly searching to find this copy, there is also a twitter post asking if the book actually exists. A presentable copy of this modern rarity from the French No Wave queen you should know about.
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